Kobe Bryant’s season is likely over; let’s just hope his playing days aren’t. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Los Angeles Lakers expect Mamba to miss the remainder of 2014-2015 with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
Bryant suffered the injury in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. He later returned to the game but was noticeably crippled, even taking – and making, of course – a turnaround jumper with his left hand. Though Kobe insisted after the game that his injury was not of a serious variety, that was before Los Angeles’ medical personnel had the chance to administer a MRI.
News of Bryant’s torn rotator cuff surfaced yesterday, but the Lakers were still uncertain that the injury would require surgery – leaving open the possibility of the five-time champion playing this season. This latest intel still doesn’t specify whether or not Kobe will go under the knife, and all parties are reportedly still weighing available options:
Surgery or not, shutting Bryant down for the remainder of the regular season is a prudent decision. The 36 year-old still has one year left on his contract, and Los Angeles obviously isn’t going anywhere this season.
Byron Scott recently indicated that he was debating sitting his superstar for good come the All-Star break if the team’s performance hadn’t improved. Even if Kobe were able to play after taking a few weeks off to repair his shoulder, basically, there’s an outside chance the Lakers would not have let him. Now, that potential approach makes even more sense.
Though we’re hardly privy to any insider information, we’ve a feeling this setback won’t end Bryant’s career prematurely. Others within league circles agree:
Regardless, we’ll certainly miss watching Kobe this season. As impossible as dragging these undermanned Lakers to respectability proved to be for Bryant, his play had improved once Scott began to limit his minutes and sit him for back-to-backs. His recent 17-assist performance against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, for instance, was nirvana for Mamba Nation:
But to get the opportunity more vintage nights like that one, Kobe first needs to recover from this injury. Here’s hoping he’s able to do so without incident and be ready to help lead a revamped Los Angeles squad come next fall.
What do you think?
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